What Every Vacuum Cleaner Salesman Knows

Recently I read, or heard (sorry, can’t recall where; I think it was on TV) that every vacuum cleaner salesman knows if (s)he demonstrates their cleaner (or, in fact, any cleaner) on a newly-vacuumed carpet, it will bring up more muck.

I thought I would try this for myself in our living room. I planned to keep going until my cordless vacuum ran out of battery, but I got bored first.

Sure enough, every time I emptied the muck bin and started again, the cleaner filled up again. After a few empties, the route to the dirt bin was blocking before it filled, as if the dust it was bringing up was thicker. That was the point when I became bored with clearing the entrance to the dust reservoir.

I recall my in-laws buying one of those expensive vacuum cleaners in the 1970s; I’m sure you remember them (the vacuum cleaners, not my in-laws). The company is still going (unlike my in-laws). They explained to us why they had taken a loan to buy it (yes, that expensive). The salesman demonstrated his machine on their recently-vacuumed carpet and showed them a full bag of collected grime.

That company probably still employs the same sales tactic. I don’t think my in-laws ever used any of the fancy accessories they bought with the cleaner.

Going forward, I’m not planning to vacuum my carpets several times a day. Nor will I tear them up and lay parquet.

We had fitted carpets in the house where I brought up four healthy offspring among dogs and cousins and dropped food (although the dogs were helpful with the dropped food – sometimes even before it was dropped). I am one of the school that advocates exposure to real life (ie. dust, dirt and pets) from an early age to build resistance.

As my gran used to say: ‘You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.’*

* In Great Britain the peck is equal to 8 imperial quarts (2 imperial gallons), or one-fourth imperial bushel: ie. 554.84 cubic inches (9.092 litres). The peck has been in use since the early 14th century.


I read that a common treatment for childhood allergies is now to expose the sufferer to minute quantities of the allergen (in controlled conditions) in the hope of building resistance.

This seems to me an eminently sensible way to go…

But I and mine have never experienced an allergy (to our knowledge) apart from high-season grass pollen, so maybe I’m not qualified to judge.

What do you think?

Do you have more relevant experience than I do that says differently?

20 thoughts on “What Every Vacuum Cleaner Salesman Knows

  1. When you’ve finished your house, you are welcome here, plenty of dust here…plus a bit of soot. The advantage of living in a railway carriage that was once pulled by a steam engine, is that there is still soot in the roof space nearly a hundred years later.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My theory is that I don’t need to clean often as I live on my own! Also agree that children need to experience dirt and animals. I was always concerned that a much younger friend was obsessed with bleaching everything and antiseptic sprays. I didn’t think it was a coincidence that her son grew up having allergies and asthma and often ended up at hospital. But I’m not a medical expert, just old.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a great believer in letting kids get mucky. The sensory experiences are worth their weight in gold. Yes it does appear to build up your immune system too. This has to be a good thing. And if anyone dares to mention any dirt or dust in my house I show them the door…to my cleaning materials cupboard and tell them to get on with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now there’s a tactic I never thought of…
      in the days when I had all the girls around from my ‘mature student’ B Ed course (and their kids) I deemed it a compliment when one said that they felt ‘comfortable’ in our place. The month before thr group had been to another student’s home, where she’d been worried her kids might get fingerprints on the pristine surfaces


  4. My house is not sparkling clean and it is only relatively tidy (as long as that relative is a long way off and has forgotten her glasses). But my grand-daughter likes visiting us because she says ‘your house is tidy, grandma’. I don’t think my grandchildren will ever suffer from allergies on that basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have friends whose kids have dust allergies and they shield them from it, though I personally think there is a need to adapt an adjust for the body to find its “zone”. Singapore is dusty as there is always so much re-development around us. I adjusted but on days if it gets really bad then I use the nasal sprays and continue to live as I have bigger ailments to overcome 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We live in the middle of fields and something gets to us in the growing season, although I never suffered from hay fever in my life before. I think that’s a difficult one because the pollen or whatever isn’t around all the time to adjust to. whe we go down to stay beside Epping Forest, something there has been getting to me this year, although symptoms are different (eg. itchy eyes rather than runny nose). I guess as I get older my defences are more likely to pack up, especially when there are other health issues to contend with. As you say, gotta keep on trucking…


        1. My symptoms aren’t as bad as my husband’s. The anti-histamines I used to give our last dog for his itchy skin do seem to help hubby’s streaming nose.


    1. I tend not to be wearing my specs in the bathroom first thing in the morning. It comes as a shock sometimes when I go up there later in the day, bespectacled, and see what I missed earlier.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No. I was told at my last eye test that there are the beginnings of a cataract forming, so that’s something I’ll no doubt have to look forward to someday. (The thought of seeing things coming towards my eyes fills me with dread… 😦 )

          Liked by 1 person

  6. No, I never took LSD but my experiences inhaling other people’s pot fumes and having two epidurals in labour which did nothing to help suggest that I’m not all that amenable to drugs. But I DID overdose on that gas and air when I found a contraction coming. For half a minute of so I was completely out of it, up in some Victorian bar-room reminiscent of the musical Oliver!


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